Dear ASDP Board
Alignable is a small business referral network that encourages business owners to build relationships within their business communities, with a focus on increasing brand recognition and word-of-mouth referrals for their business. It is much like a social media platform for small business owners to network with each other.
Alignable has been around since 2014, has 6 million registered businesses as members of the platform, is US-based and with more than 30,000 local communities. It leads with the business brand first but then shows the people behind the business. You can add a logo and a picture at the top like your storefront. It lets you add products or services you offer, events and pictures. Groups are formed around common interests and give members a place to interact, post articles, and ask questions. Alignable is similar to LinkedIn but designed for small businesses. Both have their unique opportunities for networking, but I’ve found Alignable to be a great option to connect with other sewing related businesses that feels a little less overwhelming.
It is free to set up a profile, but Alignable does offer paid premium accounts if you find it works well for your business. One word of caution: Alignable, similar to many other platforms, will try to upsell you on the paid accounts and may seem overly aggressive with email frequency, so be sure to adjust your notification settings if you find you are getting more emails than you prefer.
Interested in joining? Take a look at the profile for ASDP, read more about Alignable, and decide if you want to try it out.
Visit ASDP on Alignable
Alignable strives to be conversational so there is a place for your logo and a headshot. The photo of you will appear when you comment, communicate, and answer questions in the Forum. Take the time to carefully describe your business and select the tags that best represent what you do and who you want to work with. Remember to fill out your products and services. This is a great opportunity to clearly define what you offer.
Set up your profile before you connect to people or invite people to join you on Alignable. I would not just invite everyone in your email or LinkedIn list, but pick people that are open to trying new things or are already on Alignable that you know. Select people to join or connect with that are valuable to you. Their value comes from being a good business person that you feel has something positive to offer in their products and services and the way they do business.
Take a little time to learn how the system works. You can check in on your network, give and get recommendations, and participate in Groups by answering questions posed by the members.
Alignable likes to keep in touch with you via email to encourage your participation but you may find that you’re getting tapped too often. Go in and adjust your email settings so that you are getting the notifications that are beneficial to you.
Look at your connections and identify the people that you know and would happily recommend to people for products or services. Your recommendation doesn’t need to be more than a couple of sentences, but it should tell why you think they are worth paying attention to and why someone would want to do business with them.
What you are doing is paying it forward. You are bringing positive, and valuable, attention to your connections and contributing support into our business communities!
Alignable will send you questions from people who are in your field. They may or may not be connections, but your connections will see your answers. By participating in the Forum and Groups you are sharing your expertise and keeping your name top of mind.
You don’t have to answer every question Alignable sends you, but if you feel you have a positive and helpful answer, then go for it. We’re all in this together and there is likely a time when you’ll be interested in finding out a best practice from another professional. Understand that this is not the place to bait people to work with you or to sell your product. This is where you can ask or answer sincere questions about doing business better.
I understand that you’ve got your fingers in a lot of social media right now and you’re thinking that one more will put you on overload. If you want to give Alignable a good test, I suggest you make a plan: devoting about 10 minutes each work day (taking weekends off), find 3 businesses a week and write a thoughtful recommendation, etc.
Just plug it into your calendar, set the timer, and see what happens when you start planting a local seed. You’ll most likely find that your network will expand and you’ll develop some great camaraderie within your community. And I hope your business will improve.
If you want to start a fashion brand, chances are you want to make a small amount of products to begin with. But finding a factory who are willing to take on small orders can be tough. So what can you do instead? Find out in this video.....
Register for my free Masterclass, 'How to Get Your Fashion Ideas Produced, Without Wasting Your Time and Money' here;
The Colorado chapter invited ASDP VP of Education Lalon Alexander, Ph.D., to its April meeting. Lalon is VP of Education in addition to her duties as a University fashion professor and president-elect for the Costume Society of America. Lalon talked about various forms of ASDP education, including Eye of the Needle, national conference, University of Fashion, and new programs being considered.
Eye of the Needle is the name for new videos available to ASDP members on the national website under Resources. This program started in January of this year (2021) and is funded by ASDP’s Charitable Foundation. Videos by ASDP members lasting 15 minutes to over an hour include hints, techniques, and ideas for creativity.
Lalon informed us that details about this year’s national conference will be available May 15, 2021, in the form of an online and e-blasted brochure. Participants can attend one to several days and can attend Master Classes and/or core conference classes. Master Classes this year include Bonnie Carmicino’s beginning couture techniques, Barbie McCormick’s men’s alterations, and Claire Shaeffer’s couture tailoring (based on her new book). Claire will also offer a shorter version of her master class: Tailoring in a Thimble. [More class titles can be found at Association of Sewing and Design Professionals - Conference Deposit (sewingprofessionals.com).]
Fifty-seven ASDP members have preregistered for this year’s conference and they can register for classes starting July 1. Members not preregistered can register for classes starting July 15 and non-members can register starting August 1. Ideas for classes next year are now being solicited on the web site. That conference will be held in mid-October 2022 in Baltimore.
Lalon is looking at training for the MAS and MSDP certification programs, an apprenticeship program, and education for brick-and-mortar businesses. Details about these programs are still being determined; members who already offer appropriate training are being identified and hopefully educational discounts can be offered to ASDP members. In parallel to this, Lalon is looking at updating the ASDP Standards and Quality document and adding to the Pattern and Illustration Standards.
When asked about University of Fashion, Lalon noted that ASDP members get about a 90% discount. However, many members do not take full advantage of this program; only 35 of 65 paid UofF memberships activated their accounts last year. Anyone who loses their activation code should contact Lalon.
Lalon also asked for ideas for future education. Ideas included upcycling garments, software for digitizing patterns, and copyrighting patterns. Also desired were sources for US-made fabrics, sustainable fabrics, “dead stock”, and how to transfer stash fabrics among members.
Anyone with additional ideas for ASDP education can contact Lalon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton MA Seeks Textile-Based Craft Submissions for Upcoming Exhibition, Peacework 2020: Racial Justice Through Protest and Handwork
Peacework 2020: Racial Justice Through Protest and Handwork will focus on textile-based craft objects created during the year’s social and racial justice movement.
BROCKTON, Mass. (February 1, 2021) – In July 2020, the New York Times reported “Black Lives Matter May Be the Largest Protest Movement in U.S. History,” seven weeks after George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, 2020. Ongoing protests for racial justice continued throughout the subsequent months in American communities, rocking a nation already reeling from the effects of a global pandemic. The marches and rallies spanned from urban neighborhoods to rural streets, as the contrasting chants of “Black Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” widened a civic divide in the throes of an already deeply divisive U.S. Presidential election cycle.
Art and creativity always prevail during such a tumultuous time.
Fuller Craft Museum is producing the upcoming exhibition,
Peacework 2020: Racial Justice Through Protest and Handwork, which will feature textile-based and craft work created during the social unrest of 2020. Artwork submissions deadline is March 1, 2021.
Below are the eligibility requirements:
Eligibility: Open to all artists, crafters, and makers throughout the U.S., of all experience levels, and of all demographic backgrounds. Open to all people working in the traditional fiber arts, including those working with yarn, embroidery, cross-stitch, quilting, felting, rug hooking, paper, basketry, and other fiber media. Hobbyists are encouraged to submit their work. Crafters of color, Black crafters, and those from self-identified marginalized backgrounds and communities are especially encouraged to submit their work.
Selected works will fall under the Peacework 2020 theme explicitly (as expressed by the piece itself) or abstractly, through the artist’s statement, and may – through the applied technique and visual expression – connect with the following questions:
• How are protests an example of people engaging in “peacework?”
• What is the connection between craft practice and doing “peacework?”
• What happens when protests turn violent?
• How can handwork be used to amplify Black voices in the struggle for racial justice?
• What purpose does craft activism serve as a response, or as a call to action, when bodily
harm is enacted against Black bodies and personhood by tax-funded police agencies and
• What role do white crafters play as allies in the struggle for Black equity, equality and
• How do well-intentioned white crafters get in the way of racial progress or efforts at
Peacework 2020 is scheduled for October 9, 2021 – January 2, 2022, and will be curated by a jurying committee, including Guest Curator Hinda Mandell, Fuller Craft’s Artistic Director and Chief Curator Beth McLaughlin, fiber artist and educator Karen Hampton, and mathematician and quilter Chawne Kimber.
Group and individual submissions are welcome, as are contributions from nonprofits, political organizations, religious institutions, crafting circles, community groups, and youth centers. Individual artists and groups may submit up to three works for consideration.
Submission Format Requirements:
• Image files: jpeg or tiff, 300 dpi minimum (one per work, details as necessary)
• Image list: artist name, title of work, year of creation, media, dimensions, weight,
installation requirements, with name, contact details on the top of the page
• Maker’s statement about the submitted works (no more than 200 words) with name and
contact details on the top of the page
• Maker’s bio (no more than 200 words) with name, contact details on the top of the page
• All submitted works must use textiles either exclusively or have a strong textile component, drawing upon the “social fabric” as a metaphor reflecting the way people weave themselves into their communities and political systems through their beliefs.
• Work must be no larger than 60” high x 60” wide x 18” deep.
• All works must come ready to hang and/or prepped for display, e.g. include a hanging
sleeve, “D-rings,” or other hanging mechanism.
• Due to the contemporary nature of this exhibit, only work created from spring 2020 (following the death of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter marches) to the present day will be considered.
• All works must fall under the Peacework 2020 theme.
• Costs associated with delivery and return of artwork to be paid by artists.
Please email all submission materials, as listed above, to Charlie Pratt, Curatorial Associate at Fuller Craft Museum (email@example.com), and Guest Curator Hinda Mandell (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 1, 2021. Questions regarding the exhibition can be directed to Guest Curator Hinda Mandell. Questions about Fuller Craft Museum can be directed to Exhibition Manager Charlie Pratt
According to Etsy, 2021 will be about creating connections to each other, to ourselves, to nature. To read their full prediction, head over here.
They predict people will be embracing “friluftsliv”, the Norweigan concept of getting outdoors – think of it as the new hygge.
They also predict that prioritizing connections to small businesses around the world will be in the forefront. They foresee shoppers putting their money where their hearts are.
From our color of the year to new everyday trends, Etsy is confident that shoppers will be finding ways to create connections, big and small, more than ever this year.
Color of the Year Etsy Prediction: Sky blueHome & Living Etsy Prediction: Reimagining spacesWeddings Etsy Prediction: Anniversary receptionsStyle Etsy Predictions: At-home wear 2.0Kids Etsy Prediction: Outer space
How did women achieve a bell-shaped silhouette in the mid-19th century? By wearing many, many layers of undergarments!
This video program was recorded on December 16, 2020 and featured Illinois State Museum Curator of History Erika Holst discussing Victorian undergarments and the proper order in which they were worn.
Watch the video presentation here.
Find your next fabric supplier from hundreds of international manufacturers offering a wide range of product category spectrum, from Cotton to Yarns.
Texworld New York City (formerly known as Texworld USA) is an international business platform to source fabric and materials for fashion. The largest sourcing event on the East Coast hosts global suppliers, fabric buyers, designers, and fashion professionals for 3 days of sourcing, learning and networking.
Jody Bailey Kinard Tree skirt
Jody Kinard, of JK Creations, in Loma Linda California: This was a pair of pants that belonged to my client's grandpa. They now have a new life as a Christmas tree skirt. Visit Jody online at www.jkcreations.com
Bonny Carmincino, XOX (Scarf 42)
Bonny Carmincino, founder of Way of the Thread, and ASDP President: Here is one of my knitting patterns, XOX (Scarf 42), knit to a large scale. It is incredibly cozy to snuggle in while reading a favorite book! The pattern is available in my Ravelry shop.
Pat Billups Top Coat
Tina Crockett Quilt
Years ago I participated in a research opportunity with a group that was working on software to bridge the gap between 3D body scanning and custom digital patterns. I was intrigued with the idea so I volunteered to stand in my skivvies for about a minute while the hardware captured thousands of data points. When the project was shut down, I was able to talk with some of the developers about their thoughts. The failure of the project centered around the software not being able to account for “noise”. Errant or missing data points, and distortion around body areas that touch caused the pattern software to have significant deviations from sizing standards that had to be reconciled by an experienced pattern drafter. The time and technical knowledge needed couldn't be supported under their pricing model.
Since the early 90’s retailers have hailed ‘Mass Customization’ as the next revolution in fashion. Levi’s, Lands’ End and Brooks Brothers were some of the early adopters in this type of technology-setting up 3D scanners in store and allowing customers to order made-to-measure versions of their current styles. While the high cost of adopting new tech and development hiccups were a factor; overcoming customer behavior patterns is the greatest hurdle. While widely adopted mass-customization has not been the radical disruption that was predicted, the fashion world is being transformed by advances in technology.
With safety concerns and the constantly changing business restrictions because of Covid, I was immediately intrigued with the possibilities presented by this new technology. I signed up for a trial to see how it worked. During the two week free trial, you are allowed 10 scans. While getting familiar with the online dashboard they allow you to practice and scan yourself without counting against the allotment. I found the platform easy to use: the interface allows you to send the measurement link to a customer through email or text, and the dashboard keeps track of the status of the measurement requests you have sent. During the trial you get the chance to check out the 3D avatar feature that is available in their higher level plans.
To test using this tech I accepted a custom project for a birthday dress for the daughter of a current client. Liz would be celebrating her 13th birthday at home and wanted an outfit that was low key but special. Everything for this project was done without meeting with Liz in person. After discussing with Liz and her mom what they were envisioning, I sent them a sketch and a link from Mobile Tailor. Using her measurements, I drafted the dress from a basic sheath pattern and combined flat pattern work and draping for the bodice detail and peplum. I dropped off the completed dress with high hopes but also assured them I would guide them through marking any alterations that might be needed.
The outcome for this project was better than I hoped for, and my clients were thrilled to have a custom fit garment in the middle of a statewide lockdown. There were several factors that contributed to the success; the design was a fairly classic silhouette and we chose a ponte knit fabric that lent an additional amount of flexibility in the fit.
This technology is not likely to completely remove the manual measurements and fittings from my design process; interactions between body shapes, pattern shapes, and fabric properties will cause fitting issues that will need to be addressed. But I love that I have access to it when needed.
I invite ASDP members to read more about Mobile Tailor and sign up for a trial to see the technology at work. At the scale that many sewing professionals operate, even the Starter Plan-$99/month for up to 50 scans is likely not a reasonable expense. But 3DLook does want to extend the technology to small businesses with an option that isn’t listed on the website. After going through the trial, ASDP members can email to request pay-per-scan billing and pay a flat rate of $5 per scan. Opting into the per scan pricing doesn’t give you access to the 3D avatar nor are you able to embed the software as a widget within your website.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this interesting advance in technology or about your experience with a Mobile Tailor trial! Share your comments below or reach out to me in the Discuss List(ASDP members only), ASDP Facebook group or through email.
Jennifer Phillips is a designer in Portland, OR who specializes in custom bridal, special event and performance wear. Jennifer is currently serving as the VP of Membership in ASDP. Follow on Instagram @nicolebridalpdx
Notes from Mechiel about this project:
This is the first year I have done a peanut festival princess so I'm not very informed about their tradition. A dominant crop in Floresville, TX is peanuts, hence the harvest time festival.
High school girls and boys apply through a committee to be royalty in the festival. I have been working with other festivals/coronations in my area for well over 20 yrs. The Order of the Alamo Coronation of the Queen of Fiesta is the main one I work with as well as the Lutheran Coronation and the Waco, TX Cotton Palace festival.
I made 3 duchesses this year but the event was postponed until next year so I cannot reveal photos of them until April next year.
The process starts with the artwork of the Robe, gown and train. I source fabric, jewels and beads to create the design. I have employees 3-5 that work alongside me to accomplish the task in the allotted time, 4-7 months. I usually require 3 fittings for the garment.
2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303